18 May 2009

Why did God create ugly things?

As children, both Shireen Irani Bonner (Meher Baba’s niece) and Sheela Kalchuri Fenster (Bhau’s daughter) were bright little girls who happened to ask Baba (on different occasions) the same question: Why did God create ugly things like snakes and scorpions? And each girl got a slightly different answer, as shown in these excerpts.

Both Good and Bad Are Mine
From The Beloved, edited by Naosherwan Anzar, pp. 95-96

In December [1964] Baba's youngest brother, Adi S. Irani, who lives in England, visited him with his family. It is on record that on this occasion it was astonishing to witness the tremendous awareness of seven-year-old Shireen, Baba's niece.…Shireen asked several intelligent questions which intrigued all those around her.

…"You are beautiful and so merciful, then why did you create snakes and scorpions?"

"You, Shireen are so pretty and sweet, yet when you sit on the potty you bring out what is dirty and stinking. Why do you do it? Because it is necessary — and moreover it keeps you well and pretty. And so are all things in God's creation necessary. Both good and bad are mine."

To Me, Everyone Is the Same; to You, They Look Ugly.
From Growing Up with God by Sheela Kalchuri Fenster with David Fenster,
pp. 96-97

About insects and scorpions, I once asked Baba, “Why did you have to make all these troublesome creatures? Why not everything beautiful? Why did you create so many ugly things?”

Baba said, “I didn’t make them, they created themselves. Their impressions from past lives make them look ugly. For example, people tell lies and collect bad sanskaras. When they create bad sanskaras, they look ugly and suffer in their next birth. They make themselves that way through their sanskaras.”

“But some ugly people have good hearts.”

“When their body is ugly, they realize their past mistakes, and they become better. They try to be good and, in that way, earn good sanskaras. To me, everyone is the same; to you, they look ugly.”

“Some good-looking people are bad.”

“Even though they may look beautiful, if their sanskaras are bad, you will feel like avoiding them. There will be something about them that you don’t like. Something in their eyes or in the way they look — like a snake. You won’t feel like being near them, even though they may be physically attractive; whereas you won’t mind being near an ugly person, if that person is good.”

“Why don’t you take away anger and other weaknesses, so only good sanskaras are there?”

“Good and bad have to balance. When they balance, you get mukti [liberation].”

“Why don’t you wipe away all bad sanskaras from everyone?”

“That will be Ram rajya [the time of Ram’s rule; a golden age].”

“In Ram’s time also there were bad people, like Ravana.”

“But I burned him. Ravana was not some ten-headed entity. Depicting him in that way is representative of bad sanskaras. After he was killed, people spoke the truth, never deceived others. Now, it is the Kali Yug. That’s why you see bad outweighing good everywhere.”

“You should bring about that Ram-raj quickly,” I said.

“One day it will happen.”

“Will I still be alive?”

“Maybe not.”

Sheela's book has just been published and is available at the Sheriar and Love Street bookstores. See Christina Arasmo's review here.

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All quotes of Meher Baba © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust unless otherwise indicated. Writings by Kendra are © Kendra Crossen Burroughs unless otherwise noted.